Postcard: Shenzhen

As the Chinese middle class expands, so does its curious appetite for foreign-themed amusement parks. Behind the scenes at China's very own Swiss alpine resort

AniuAgence Vu for TIME

A female tourist is watching the park map, surrounded by the snopshot fans of tourists.

Lederhosen, fondue and dried-seaweed snacks? Guten Tag from Shenzhen! Nestled in rolling hills outside this southern boomtown is China's very own version of Interlaken. No detail of the famed Swiss alpine resort appears to have been ignored in this local facsimile, from ski chalets, mineral baths and roasting sausages to the fräulein in braids who greets you on arrival. Perhaps the only thing missing from this Chinese alpine idyll is, well, snow.

The resort, known as OCT East, is just the latest of dozens of foreign-themed parks springing up all over China. Shanghai has its Weimar Village, Beijing has Greek villas,...

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